It would be “counterproductive” to block AstraZeneca exports, warns London

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The British Defense Minister warned on Sunday that it would be “counterproductive” to block AstraZeneca’s exports, as the President of the European Commission threatened the day before if the European Union did not receive its deliveries first.

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“The European Union knows the rest of the world is watching the way the Commission behaves,” Ben Wallace told SkyNews television. “If contracts and commitments are broken, it would be very damaging for a trade bloc that prides itself on (respecting) the law,” he continued.

He added that “it would be counterproductive”. Emphasizing the collaborative nature of vaccine production which involves several countries around the world, the minister warned that “this would jeopardize not only the chances of their citizens to have an appropriate vaccination program, but also many other countries in the world. and damage the reputation of the EU ”.

“Trying to somehow divide or put up walls would only hurt the citizens of the EU and the UK,” the minister later said in an interview with the BBC.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has threatened to ban planned exports if she does not receive her AstraZeneca vaccine shipments.

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“This is our message to AstraZeneca: respect your contract with Europe before you start delivering to other countries,” she said in an interview with German media group Funke.

She recalled that the EU contract with AstraZeneca provides for the delivery of doses produced both on EU territory and in the UK.

“However, we have not received anything from the British, while we are providing them,” she argued, adding that the EU had sent a “formal letter” to complain to the Swedish-British pharmaceutical group. .

Meanwhile, the massive vaccination campaign that began on December 8 in the UK is in full swing.

“Yesterday was a record day for the deployment of the vaccine, with 873,784 people receiving an injection,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed Sunday on Twitter.

More than half of the 52.7 million adults in the UK have now received a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The government’s goal is to offer a first dose of coronavirus vaccine to all people over 50 by mid-April and to all adults by the end of July.

The country in Europe hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic with more than 126,000 deaths, the United Kingdom is using vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech and AstraZeneca / Oxford.